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Trump says Saudi king agrees to raise oil output by 2m barrels

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Saudi state media confirms phone call between two leaders but gives no mention of the tweeted by US president.

 

US President Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has agreed to his request to increase oil output “maybe up to” two million barrels, as state media in Riyadh confirmed a phone call between the two leaders about oil but mentioned no specifics.

Trump’s claim on Saturday comes after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a grouping of oil producing states that includes Saudi Arabia, already agreed to ramp up productionby a million barrels a day at a meeting earlier this month.

Non-OPEC member Russia on June 23 also backed the effort, capping a week of tense diplomacy for the bloc that averted a damaging rift between arch foes Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction [sic] in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference,” the US president wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Prices to [sic] high! He has agreed!” Trump added, without specifying the timeframe for the increased production or whether his two million figure referred to barrels per day.

Later on Saturday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said King Salman had spoken to Trump on the need to maintain oil market stability and global economic growth, but gave no further details about an output rise.

“During the call, the two leaders stressed the need to make efforts to maintain the stability of oil markets and the growth of the global economy,” SPA said.

They also discussed “efforts by the oil producing countries to compensate for any potential shortage in supplies,” it added.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter and has usually kept at least 1.5 million to two million barrels per day of spare capacity, according to the United States Energy Information Administration. It produces around 10 million barrels of crude per day, according to OPEC.

Pump prices

The Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November when the US re-imposes sanctions against Tehran, after Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six major powers.

US officials are pressing allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, to adhere to the sanctions, which are aimed at pressuring Iran to negotiate a follow-up agreement to halt its nuclear programmes.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said “it is not unusual” for the White House to put pressure on OPEC members to increase oil output “mainly because the US president is first and foremost concerned about the cost of gasoline and consumer fuels, especially in an election year” – the US will hold midterm congressional polls in November.

She added, however, that what Trump is suggesting, amid the pressure imposed to other countries to stop accepting Iranian imports, is much more complicated than simply persuading or not persuading Riyadh to change its output levels.

“This is a situation where US shale oil production itself has dropped in the past few months and that drop in the inventory has pushed oil prices up,” Jordan said.

“There is also some analysis from energy sector experts who say that Saudi Arabia could perhaps increase its daily output but it would only be for a very short time and the quality of the oil produced would be very low amd very difficult to refine.”

Jordan added: “It’s noteworthy that the Saudis did not want to say that they are committed in any official output level, that they would be inclined to have any financial dealings with Iran in the face of any possible US sanctions.”

Iran accuses US of economic pressure

Im the run-up to the latest OPEC meeting, Riyadh, backed by Moscow, had argued strongly in favour of increasing production as grumbles in major consumer countries like the US, India and China have grown about higher prices.

Iran opposed any changes to the original production-cut deal at a time when its oil industry is facing renewed sanctions over Trump’s decision to quit the international nuclear deal with Tehran. In the end, both sides were able to save face.

Analysts said  the outcome of the discussions between the Saudi and US leaders may have far reaching benefits for both sides.

“It is a strategic move [from Saudi Arabia] to side with Trump at this point and I think what we have seen so far is a combination of an oil price war as well as an indirect diplomatic confrontation between the Iranians and other OPEC members,” Mohammed Cherkaoui, professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University, told AL Jazeera from Washington, DC.

“If this trend, what the Russians and the Saudis have offered, I think it will lead to an implosion of the OPEC as an international trade institution,” Cherkaoui added.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday accused the US of trying to turn Iranians against their government.

“They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system … but six US presidents before him tried this and had to give up,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on Saturday by his website, referring to Trump.

Iran’s rial currency has lost up to 40 per cent of its value since last month, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of trying to push up oil prices and said both countries are acting against the foundation of OPEC.

“If this happens, (it) means Trump is asking Saudi Arabia to walk (away) from OPEC,” he told Reuters news agency.

“The market will go up to $100 I am sure as Saudi Arabia said they will plan an increase for July … This was managed between the two to rob the pocket of rest of the world.”

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Lagos state government shuts down all schools over #EndSARS protests

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The Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of public and private schools in the state indefinitely.
This was announced in a press statement by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi, on Monday.
The statement was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’.
It quoted the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.”
The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
Adefisayo added that “the safety of the pupils/students, parents and all staff working in schools is paramount at this critical period”.
She however advised parents to “keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society”.
The Commissioner also encouraged schools to “utilize other means of distance teaching and learning i.e radio, television and online media as they have been doing during and post the recent COVID-19 lockdown”.

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Siberian Husky Awaits Trial For Allegedly Murdering Neighbor Cat

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A Siberian Husky in Denver was accused of killing a neighbor’s cat and now sits in an animal shelter awaiting a trial.

Zuma, the 12-year-old dog who lives with Kevin and Valerie Kickham, reportedly wandered over to a neighbor’s yard in Central Park early August and took the life of a seven-year-old Tabby cat, according to FOX 31 News.

“It was only this one moment in time that I lost track of Zuma and something did occur,” Kevin confessed to the outlet with Valerie by his side.

Denver Animal Protection eventually picked Zuma up and has held him in their shelter since the alleged incident.

While Kevin and Valerie “feel bad” about the loss of the cat, they are very concerned for Zuma, whom they have sheltered since he was eight weeks old and call “son.”

“He’s very much our child,” stated Valerie.

“I remember him taking part of his first Thanksgiving turkey,” Kevin recalled fondly. “We fed him turkey in the bowl and next thing you know he actually jumped up and grabbed a piece of turkey for himself.”

A spokesperson for the Denver Animal Protection told the outlet that a judge may exonerate Zuma. If found guilty, however, Zuma could be put to sleep or relocated “somewhere outside the city.”

“It’s not a scenario that’s ideal,” explained Kevin.

While they await the trial date set for mid-November, the Kickhams are allowed weekly visits to the shelter.

“Both of our last visits he wasn’t excited,” Kevin told the news source. “It’s been very hard.”

With the life expectancy of a Siberian Husky ranging from 12 to 15 years, the couple are fearful they may not have much more time together with Zuma.

“We know that it’s not going to be much longer,” Kevin added. “We’ve cherished every moment with him.”

The outlet said they have reached out to the family of the feline victim, but there has been no response.

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#EndSARS: If there’s no change after one week, we will protest again – Naira Marley

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Controversial Nigerian singer, Naira Marley has vowed to initiate a second phase of the #EndSars protest in the coming week if terms are not met.

This is coming after the incessant brutality and harassment of Nigerian youths by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squads, SARs.

The first phase of the protest started today, October 8th, led by celebrities like Runtown, Falz, and others within Lagos state.

Naira Marley who earlier backed out of the #EndSars protest applauded youths who supported the movement and has promised to lead a second phase.

The Tesumole crooner wrote in a tweet, “Respect to all the youths out there fighting for their rights and what’s right. God bless y’all.

“After a week if there’s no changes on this fsars issue as promised by nigeriapoliceforce then we will get back out there stronger. Stay safe and protest peacefully if u re protesting.

#endsars protest

“They know My own crowd ya werey gan o #uncontrollably. I told y’all already 99% Marlians are not on twitter.

“Some of y’all will remain follower and never become a leader.”

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